The Old Man at Tim Hortons

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2

I was in my late teens finishing up high school about to begin college. Working third shift as a baker at my local donut and coffee shop in Tonawanda New York. As I began my shift around 10:00 pm a kind old man walked in and began to order.

I had gotten to know this man who always ordered a black coffee with a cake donut on china with a senior discount. Couldn’t have been more than two dollars at the time. He had a kind face accented by the red sweater he always wore. We would strike up a conversation about trivial things as he would patiently wait for his order.

One day while working my shift, I told the old man that as I was preparing to leave home and head off to school for ministry. He expressed the usual remarks of being sad to see me go and that he was encouraged to see a young man heading into ministry. It was what happened the next day that would touch me very deeply.

11485763673_07b7b66e1b_mHe came in, ordered his coffee and cake donut on china with a senior discount; handed me the two dollars and shook my hand. When I pulled back my hand there was a twenty dollar bill. I was taken back a little and politely refused; I couldn’t possibly receive this generous gift. He kindly and firmly restated that he would like to have a small part in what God would do in my life.

I don’t remember the mans name, but I’ve never forgotten his act of kindness. I would go back to work at the local donut shop in between semesters, but I never saw the old man again.

Life is made up of these small investments, people who’ve taken the time to influence in what might seem the most minuscule of ways. These are our angels, even if we are unaware of their presence.

Just like the old man at Tim Hortons.

Photo by Rudolf Vlček

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